Hacksaw Ridge review
Within the hands of a solider, a gun is a killing machine that those in training learn to use and accept their fate as they will eventually have to take a life. Without the finger to fire, it is simply an item filled with the power to create change. I’m not making this an anti gun review as I myself have gone shooting (but I’ve never pointed it at anything living), but what I’m trying to get across is that every machine requires energy to perform its function, and those weapons cannot go off without the intervention of people operating it.
As an American, I believe in the right to own a gun as long as the owners are mentally sound to operate with it. But given their violent history, I can understand why one would object to their use. Guns are the primary example of a coin flip invention, which can have its use, but also hides a dark side. The subject of today’s movie refused to touch a gun on religious grounds. He has every right to defy the social norms in order to show how ironically, he is American. Hacksaw Ridge is an example on how a solider can do important things without a rifle.
Were introduced to Desmond Doss (played by Andrew Garfield), who is a stance Seventh-day Adventist who abides by his philosophy to treating others well, especially after a flashback reveals he nearly killed his brother. After learning medicine from his nurse girlfriend Dorothy (played by Teresa Palmer) and seeing his brother enlist in the army, he too decides he needs to go to WWII for his country. He arrives at basic training under the command of Sergeant Howell (played by Vince Vaughn). Though Desmond does well under physical training, he becomes an outcast when he refuses to even touch a rifle during training.
Attempts to get Desmond to leave from physiological tests to even getting beaten up by fellow privates fail to break his spirit. At one point, Desmond get charged with insubordination when he doesn’t follow an order from a superior to hold an unloaded weapon. Without saying how he gets out of it, he does make it through training where he’s sent to the South Pacific where he becomes involved with the infamous Battle of Okinawa. Again, I won’t say what he does, but it’s so inspiring that it almost seems like Hollywood fiction (I looked into it, and it really did happen).
With a hero whose also religious, this could have been incredibly easy to hand this over to a Christian film company and let them handle it in a too safe manner. Instead, director Mel Gibson knew the importance of showing the brutality of WWII (I don’t think I’ve seen this much blood since Saving Private Ryan) which always manages to balance with Desmond’s beliefs. Andrew Garfield’s voice might seem a bit hokey, but I think it manages to carry his character fine. I appreciate how the movie does reveal a lot of character and how his devotion to Jesus makes his struggle harder.
Hacksaw Ridge reminded a lot of Full Metal Jacket, as both movies seem to feel different after the first half. Both have a basic training half and the other all about the days on the battlefield. What Hacksaw Ridge has over the latter is a more unique hero. It’s an overall nice change of pace from the typical shot-the-bad-guy and everything will be fine. You don’t see too many war stories about the ones who never fired a weapon. Even pacifists deserve to have their story told.
I’ll give this five Battle of Okinawa pictures out of five. Mel Gibson is definitely back in full force behind the camera. Hacksaw Ridge is one of the best of 2016 and I highly recommend this to those that want a WWII story that’s different. While it’s not for those that can’t take too much violence, I think, like how Desmond defends his beliefs, the action is justified and deserves a chance.